The OpenEMIS initiative was developed in response to an increasing demand for support in the area of educational planning and management. OpenEMIS contributes to the process of the building of a robust and reliable Education Management Information System (EMIS) and the strengthening of national capacities in the provision of reliable information for the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of education systems. Through a partnership with Community Systems Foundation, the OpenEMIS initiative is backed by a strong technical support team equipped to assist countries with all aspects of country implementation. The OpenEMIS initiative aims to dramatically change access to data through open channels and transparency in the dissemination and use of disaggregated data from multiple sources for better decision-support, including sub-national data that can be used by communities to measure their own progress. The data innovations delivered by OpenEMIS can help to enable education planners to identify the most vulnerable individuals and to devise equitable and reliable education service delivery systems. OpenEMIS aims to achieve a robust government-owned EMIS for better development outcomes through evidence-based decision support. The OpenEMIS initiative aims to make it easier to discover, analyze, and visualize meaningful relationships and patterns in education data sets, with the ultimate goal of improving planning, policy formulation and decision-making. OpenEMIS Refugees is a module designed to track school-age children in emergency situations. This module is specifically designed to assist governments and donors in administering education relief programs in areas of conflict. At the national level, OpenEMIS includes features for assisting national education planners in monitoring the national education policy and its key performance indicators. At the school level, OpenEMIS helps teachers record and manage the achievement of students. At the teacher level, the system helps monitor teacher professional development.
Implementation | Each implementation of OpenEMIS is unique. The OpenEMIS team extensively studies the implementing country’s national education framework and context which assures the tool is adapted to address their particular needs. Through a series of services including: policy and planning services, analytical services, software development, implementation and support services and most importantly training and capacity building, the OpenEMIS team designs a customized program. Specifically, the OpenEMIS team works in-country for three years to capacity build, followed by yearly training sessions, 24-hour technology support, and lessons via Skype for countries that need additional support. The designed program is intended to support the national strategy aiming to establish strong accountability, knowledge management, and legal frameworks within which educational institution stakeholders can operate to improve education institutions and increase successful outcomes for all learners.
Products | Furthermore, each OpenEMIS implementation is supported by a series of innovative products intended to support education stakeholders through every phase of the data chain. These products, OpenEMIS Survey, OpenEMIS School, OpenEMIS Classroom, OpenEMIS Core, OpenEMIS Analyzer, and OpenEMIS Visualizer seek to facilitate data capture, data management and data analysis. The overall objective of the initiative is to improve access to, and use of, timely and reliable information on education for improved evidence-based decision-making, policy formulation, management, and monitoring and evaluation of national education system.
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CEI approaches in actionPolicy & AnalysisLinking research and evidence with policy or implementationSchool supportEducational Technology
Model details2010Not-for-profitVocational/technical skillsInformation and Communications Technology (ICT)ActivePilotFree service or productCommunity Systems FoundationUNHCROECSUNESCO15050%50%
BeneficiariesIndividuals with disabilitiesOut-of-school childrenOtherChildren in emergency settings; conflict-affected children
OpenEMIS is coordinated by UNESCO and implemented through national education policies with strategies for targeting disadvantaged children, including poor and marginalized children.
OpenEMIS can be customized to meet the requirements of the national education policy to track indicators related to poverty measures and education provision for the most marginalized children.
OpenEMIS is designed to track all vulnerable populations. Through partnership with UNESCO, multi-lateral donor organizations, and governments system is customized for data collection, analysis, and reporting to target poor populations and support decisions based on this information. This includes for example, the ability to track country-specific beneficiary programs such as conditional cash transfer programs. In addition, OpenEMIS Refugee has been developed to track school-age children in emergency situations specifically designed to assist governments and donors in administering education relief programs.
TechnologyMobile phoneTablet or e-readerSchool operations (attendance, records, payment, etc.)Teacher trainingTracking student performance
ScaleThe OpenEMIS Initiative operates under a “training of trainer” model to build capacity within a core group of MOE or education staff who can then carry our capacity building in local contexts.9The OpenEMIS Initiative offers open-source technology products available for download and use by member statesJanuary, 2015
The pilot testing of the first version of OpenEMIS was initiated by UNESCO in 2009 in Mongolia. Using a participatory approach to software development, interaction with various types of users has allowed continuous customization of the software. The next version of OpenEMIS was rewritten based on feedback from the pilot and in compliance with international standards for open source software development. The aim is for each participating government to have full ownership of the software and reliable access to all education data for reporting, analysis and planning.
Since the software was upgraded after an initial pilot in Mongolia ~ 4 years ago, the following countries have expressed interest in OpenEMIS: Afghanistan, Barbados, Cambodia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Libya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Rwanda, St Lucia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Togo, Turks and Caicos, Tunisia, Uzbekistan. Plans for scale-up are on going with discussions with Ministries of Education and other national stakeholders. In many of these countries, the evaluation of a trial version of the software is underway. The next steps in 2015 are to help these countries assess their needs, identify funding resources to meet these needs and to build their capacities to own and operate OpenEMIS. Please see above the countries where OpenEMIS is being implemented.
The OpenEMIS Initiative expects to double the number of countries using the system between now and the end of 2015. During this period OpenEMIS will be implementing a renewed communications campaign as well as program development strategy. This will center on a new knowledge exchange, news, and updates portal to support the global community. Furthermore, OpenEMIS will be developing new partnerships to further extend the code of our product using open source networks and link with governments in need of an upgraded technical capacity. Over the same period the initiative expects to offer OpenEMIS School as the most affordable SaaS product targeted for school management. The Initiative expects schools to begin using the tool this year with quick uptake as the product develops a user base. Wee have pipelined the following enhanced features:
• Seamless integration with OpenEMIS Survey
• Integration with OpenEMIS School
• Integration with Google Apps
• Import Data via Excel
• Export indicators to SDMX
• Extend Special Needs, Assets, and Feeding to aggregated totals
• Calculate distances from schools
• REST API interface
• Business Intelligence capability
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
OpenEMIS employs a two-pronged M&E strategy:
Country Monitoring | During in-country assessment missions, OpenEMIS staff collect information regarding the implementation and impact of the program.
OpenEMIS Monitoring | After each assessment mission, OpenEMIS staff attend a debriefing where objectives, challenges, benchmarks, risk factors, and lessons learned are discussed. Additionally, OpenEMIS publishes an annual performance report that includes information regarding program implementation in each country and how to better streamline its own processes.
OpenEMIS's M&E is linked directly to national education policy and its monitoring and evaluation strategy in all countries of implementation.
Within UNESCO, the Section for Teacher Development and Education Policies, Division for Teacher Development and Higher Education (UNESCO/ED/THE), is responsible for coordination and quality assurance of the OpenEMIS initiative. Within CSF, the OpenEMIS technical support team, based in Singapore, is responsible for software development and technical support. The team is assisted with administrative and technical support from CSF’s global network of offices and technical advisors.
OpenEMIS has established Standard Operating Procedures to facilitate advanced reporting functions, linkages to DevInfo, web interfaces for data entry and query, data integration through import/export processes based on international data and metadata exchange standards (SDMX); OpenEMIS documentation; OpenEMIS helpdesk; and OpenEMIS deployment in priority countries with appropriated methodology implemented for pilot testing, fine-tuning, adaptation, customization, capacity building, transfer of technology, monitoring and evaluation. We release all enhancements and customizations as options for any implementing country, therefore reducing transaction costs and duplication of efforts, all license free.In addition to the Standard Operating procedure referenced above, the OpenEMIS team is required to submit Activity Reports for all funded activities as well as weekly reports circulated to UNESCO leadership on performance, issue tracking, and program reach.
OpenEMIS is an open source software project. The start up costs of implementation do not require paying for any software licenses. The aim is to build the capacity of the national education system to own and independently operate OpenEMIS through transfer of technology and training programs.
The program has been evaluated by each government partner, UNESCO, OECS, and UNHCR. Results data is available by contacting each partner directly.